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"There Came Into the World a Blue-Gray Wolf Whose Destiny was Heaven's Will"
on May 21, 2012
If you are passionate about Mongolian history and want to read the original story, then do yourself a favor and buy this Kahn version for a fraction of the price compared to others. Some reviewers suggest this cheaper version is somehow lacking, but I couldn't disagree more. If you are engaged in some academic or literary pursuit, then this version falls far short and you are better off with Igor de Rachewiltz's translation followed by Professor Urgunge Onon's as a second choice. Most people reading this review are best served by Kahn's version, and don't think you are missing out because of price. What you will get from Kahn is a highly readable story-like version that doesn't make you stumble everytime you need to pronounce any Mongol word, which makes for a much more pleasant experience.
If we compare the Kahn's translation to the scholarly IdR, the single biggest thing you will notice is the spelling of all things Mongol. Example, IdR spells Genghis Khan as Cinggis Qa'an while Kahn gives an acceptable Chingis Khan. I will offer an example in translational difference that will hopefully give you a sense of what to expect:
Kahn, p160: "He sent Subetei the Brave off to war in the north where he defeated 11 kingdoms and tribes, crossing the Volga and Ural Rivers, finally going to war with Kiev."
IdR, p194 #262: "Further, he sent Sube'etei Ba'atur northwards to campaign as far as the countries and peoples of these 11 tribes: Qanglin, Kibca'ut, Bajigit, Orusut, Majarat, Asut, Sasut, Serkesut, Kesimir, Bolar, and Kerel; and, making him cross the rivers Idil and Jayaq rich in waters, he sent Sube'etei Ba'atur to campaign as far as the city of Kiwa Menkermen." (Note: I was unable to add all the symbols that accompany letters in the Mongol words, and 1-3 are present in virtually all of them.)
The comparison of those two passages (they are the same) should tell you everything you need to know; the Kahn version is significantly more user-friendly and I can't possibly stress this enough. You can check out my review of the IdR translation if you are still not convinced, and compare the opening sentence of both books by the title of my review. I hope this helps you make this difficult decision, and I do highly recommend this version even if it is not the densest or most scholarly of those available. Enjoy.